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This is the personal weblog of Aakash Raut, established Sept. 2002. It will cover current affairs, worldwide & national topics, local & university events, and provide insight and commentary on contemporary issues and the news from his perspective. Enjoy!

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    Monday, July 14, 2003

    Update (8/8/03): I am sorry for not having posted for awhile. My guest blogging period at at 'Deux Ego' was extended (as per my request), and I have posted several entries there. Here are some of my guest blog entries from the past week:

    - California, Here I Came...
    An overview of my recent trip to the bay area
    - Unconditional Support
    Many who opposed the war truly support our brave soldiers
    - Bleeding Hearts vs. Rational Minds
    Another critique of the 'bleeding heart' war hawks, and why they're doing us a great disservice
    - Oil is not well
    Was it about oil? I'm not sure...
    - 'Pop Quiz' on Iraq
    Test your discernment skills on current events!

    Update (7/29/03): I will have new entries posted soon at this site, as indicated below. For the next few days, however, I am one of the guest bloggers at Pieter and Jamie's 'Deux Ego.' Please check that site out, as myself, Josh Matthews, and Carmon Friedrich contribute to that excellent blog throughout this week. I also have several new blog entries that I am planning to post here, but until then, please look through the past posts on this page; many have been updated. If you haven't seen the entry on presidential indiscretions, check it out (right below this one); I've made it so far up through JFK, and will have the rest posted soon. Thanks!

    Update (7/21/03): For those summer students who also have finals this week, best of luck!!

    Notes (7/22/03):
    I am finishing up with classes this week, and I should have some more free time soon. Sorry again for the infrequency of new entries at this blog - I have updated several of my previous ones, though... I will, as indicated below, fill in the pertinent entries with info on presidential rankings and presidential affairs. I just added something to the presidential rankings entry (scroll down, or click here for the permalink) asking for the opinions of my fellow bloggers on that issue; as I said there, it would be neat if we could see a comparison of what each of us in the Blogosphere thinks about that...

    (I have updated several other entries below as well. My last two posts for June 19th - dealing with the issue of justification for the Iraq war, the flawed, left-wing, 'bleeding heart,' statist logic that some 'conservatives' are now using to justify it - and the follow-up post about how there are fortunately many conservative war supporters [such as Ann Coulter, George Will, and Kate O'Beirne] and pro-war bloggers who are rightfully acknowledging that that type of Clintonesque reasoning is wrong, have both been updated. That follow-up entry has especially been amended, and it now mentions the recent Gallup poll results, which say that only 10% of Americans subscribe to this viewpoint to justify the Iraq war. It was very upsetting to see "Tony the Tyrant" implicitly making that argument when speaking to our Congress [which some bloggers wrote about], and it is disappointing to notice that even many conservatives in the Blogosphere are currently clinging to it. Fortunately, many bloggers who supported the war are not. And from what I have heard, it appears that President Bush and many of his key administration members are not reverting to that claim either. Good for them!)

    Also, an important note:
    I don't want to commit plagarism. (Though maybe, if I did, I could get hired by the Times?...) On July 3rd, I posted a little ditty called 'Good Morning Monrovia!' - it was soon after featured in an entry at Fearful Symmetry (thanks Matthew!). For the sake of honesty, I have updated my entry (below) to point out that the words of that verse of mine were actually inspired by (and perhaps partly based upon) another ditty called 'Ode to Slobo' that I had come across a couple years ago. I want to also post a note here in this entry update about that... I should have made this attribution when I first blogged that entry.

    Update (7/25/03):
    I have started a new feature on the left side bar of this blog. Every one week or so, I will be spotlighting a 'website of the week' - this is a notable internet site that my readers might find interesting. First off is the site of Young America's Foundation, the great organization for conservative students in America. They are holding their 25th annual National Conservative Student Conference this week, so their site is a good one to lead off with. (I was wanting to go the conference, but classes unfortunately prevented me from doing so.)

    [Update 8/24/03: Let it be said: We heart Melissa Moskal, too!!] :-)
    (Ooh... And I just saw that she's a native Illinoisian! Eat your hearts out, guys!) ;-)

    Also - In addition to the above-mentioned updates to my previous entries, I have also updated my post on military committments, as well as all three of my Fourth of July entries, and the ones on President Ford and his 'Profile in Courage,' along with some others. The presidential rankings have now been added, and I am still open to suggestions from bloggers for posting there, as indicated in the entry. I have also begun adding the info on presidential indiscretions; I'll be taking them about ten at a time (as indicated below).

    (Below is my original posting for this July 14th blog entry.)


    And no series of entries on the American Presidency would be complete without mentioning the president and the administration which is undoubtedly the worst one of my lifetime, and one of the worst of all time.

    The Clinton Calendar
    Covering the first term (1993-1997)

    I could say a lot about Clinton (as I have been doing for many years), with regards to his policies on domestic issues, foreign affairs, various other topics, and his personal and criminal scandals as well. But right now, I have a major paper that I need to be doing for class (as well as a lot of other work). The summer semester will be over soon, so I should have more time then.

    Watch Clinton bomb Congress!

    Continuing with our presidents theme in this series of posts...

    When looking over a book that I had purchased a few years ago, White House Confidential: The Little Book of Weird Presidential History, I thought that I should blog an entry about the past presidents, with regards to which ones of them had done a certain thing... the thing that Clinton defenders claimed that "everybody does," and that our previous presidents therefore of course, must have done. One of the common myths about the presidency, and about our past presidents, is that many of them, or perhaps even the majority, have had affairs (and therefore of course, that makes what Clinton did somehow less atrocious...). But the facts do not back up this claim...

    Among the 42 men that have held the title "President of the United States," (yes, that's 42, not 43; Cleveland is both the 22nd and 24th) only a small number of them are definitely known to have committed adultery. There are a few others for which there is some speculation, but no actual proof. The following is an overview of this... [*]

    (I somewhat used that book as a source, but their conclusions about this issue, with regards to each president, are not necessarily the same as what I list here - I used other sources also, as well as what I already know about the topics. The listing below is from a compilation of sources, and it does not necessarily reflect what the authors of White House Confidential, or any other particular book, have said.)

    *Note: I typed the first part of this blog entry, and parts of several other entries (below), last night. I have not yet had the time and energy to fill in all of the information, however, but since I have already posted six entries into Blogger for July 14, I think that I should click the 'Publish' button now anyway, especially since I haven't updated in over a week (sorry!). I have a backlog of at least 15 other blog entries that I need to post, so I hope to be updating this site more frequently in the near future.

    But until I update and republish this entry, can anyone guess which ones are guilty, and which ones aren't?


    OK, here it is... The awaited listing:

    (For this entry, I am going to post the information in parts; I'll take about ten presidents at a time. Some people may disagree with my findings, but that's fine - we're all free to express our own thoughts and opinions on this. Anyway, here it goes...)

    I have put the presidents into three categories:
    A) Did not have any affairs (or there is no substantial evidence that he did)
    B) May have done so (there is some substantial evidence, but it is still uncertain)
    C) Known to have been a cheater (it is generally accepted that he did so)

    Let's begin at the beginning:

    George Washington: There have been rumors that the 'Father of our Country' was also the father of some children, other than those of his wife, Martha. But there is no proof that this is true. There is some speculation about a possible relationship between General Washington and a woman named Sally Fairfax, but once again, there is no solid proof that they had an adulterous relationship. So, while I was thinking of putting General Washington in the 'B' category, I am going to give him an A, partly because he is the first, and I want to get started on the right note. ;-)

    John Adams: Nothing to report here. Abigail and John apparently had a good marriage. Our second president gets an A as well.

    Thomas Jefferson: To everyone's surprise, Tom gets a A as well. Before everyone starts talking about the Sally Hemmings story (which was very conveniently 'proven true' in the midst of the Clinton controversy, though later contradicted by a team of scholars commissioned to determine the facts about the issue), let's remember that neither Ms. Hemmings nor Mr. Jefferson were married at the time the relationship is alleged to have occurred. So even if they did have a relationship (which there's no proof that they did), it would not have been an affair.

    John Quincy Adams: Like the others before him, the second President Adams gets an A as well.

    James Madison: Ditto Adams. (I am not going to waste words... President Madison was a great man, and a great leader, and there is a lot that I could write about him. But for the purposes of this, he gets an A, and we get to move on.)

    James Monroe: Ditto Adams as well. A

    Andrew Jackson: It may be appropriate to give Jackson an A, but in this case that is not legally possible. While Jackson may never have knowingly committed adultery, every time he had a relationship with his wife, Rachel, they were both doing so. If you don't already know the story behind this, read about it here, here, or here. Unfortunately, Jackson will have to be given a C. (The streak is finally - and very regretably - broken.)

    Martin Van Buren: No cheating here. A

    William Henry Harrison: Ditto. A

    John Tyler: Same as above. A

    Please stand by... This list will be continued. (That is, unless something goes wrong - I hope this new version of Blogger doesn't eat my entry if it goes over a certain size limit - it did that for myself and some others not too long ago... That would not be good - the juicer stuff is still to come...)

    The next ten (7/27/03):

    William Henry Harrison: Nothing here. A

    Sorry, this part seems to be getting boring... (See, I told you that most of our Presidents never had affairs...). To save space, I will post here that Presidents Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Ulysses S. Grant all get A's. Buchanan never married, and rumors arose as to whom he was having relationships with, and Abe once left Mary Todd standing at the altar on New Year's Day (which is probably one of the least bad things that he did, according to some), but none of these Presidents are known to have had affairs.

    James Garfield: While a major general in the Civil War, Garfield had an affair with an 18-year-old NY Times reporter named Mrs. Lucia Calhoun. He later admitted what he had done, and his wife, Lucretia, forgave him for it. Garfield gets a C, and this may be the first time that the man in the White House was someone who had knowingly committed adultery.

    Well, that's about the first half of the list, and so far, we have straight "A's," except for two. Please stand by for the rest. (I hope Blogger behaves alright when I try to post this...)

    And the next ten (7/28/03):

    So far, our heads of state have been mostly good (at least, with regard to the fidelity issue). But that is soon about to change. This next batch of presidents contains some of the worst instances of unfaithfulness that the White House has ever seen.

    Chester Alan Arthur: Chet's clean, but he's one of only five or six in this group of men for whom that can be said. A

    Grover Cleveland: "Ma, Ma, Where's My Pa?" - While the sheriff of Buffalo, NY, Grover had a relationship with a woman named Maria Halpin. Later, she claimed that the child she had was his. There was no way of knowing if this is true, but Cleveland chose to support the child financially anyway, and continued to look out for the child's interests. When the media reported this, instead of lying (like other presidents have been known to do), Cleveland admitted the truth. This played very well with the public. His opponent in the presidential election, James G. Blaine, had a child who was born only three months after he and Mrs. Blaine were married, but instead of acknowledging this, Blaine tried to dodge the truth (like someone else tried to do about 110 years later). Cleveland ended up winning the election ("Gone to the White House - Ha! Ha! Ha!") This goes to show how important and valuable honesty and straightforwardness can be. If only other elected officials would learn from this.

    William Howard Taft: An A here. And by the way, the previous president also gets an A, because he was single at the time of his relationship with Ms. Halpin. (I think she was too, but if not, I'll change this.)

    (Thomas) Woodrow Wilson: While he was a professor at Princeton, Wilson went to Bermuda for a holiday, while his [first] wife Ellen stayed home with the family. While in Bermuda, Wilson met one Mary Peck, and they began a relationship. The following year, Wilson again went to Bermuda and spent time with Peck. When Ellen found out about the affair, it was very hard - on both husband and wife. Eventually, she forgave him. Ellen later passed away, due to Bright's disease, about a year after her husband entered the White House. C

    Warren G. Harding: Like Clinton, this man had an adminstration with many scandals, and also like Clinton, he cheated on his wife. Nan Britton and Carrie Phillips are two of the women with whom Warren is known to have had affairs. Elizabeth Ann Britton, the daughter of Nan, claimed to be the daughter of the president, and her mother wrote a book about this after he had passed away. As for Mrs. Warren [Florence de Wolf] Harding, a tough woman known as "the Dutchess," she is believed by some to have been quite upset - either by her husband's cheating, or by the fear that they would be charged and imprisoned due to the Teapot Dome and other adminstration scandals, or by both - and to have poisoned the president as a result, causing his death in office in 1923. We don't know if this is what really happened, though. A definite C.

    Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover: An A, and an A

    Franklin Delano Roosevelt: A terrible president (in my opinion), and also a cheater. (as Lucy Mercer and possibly also Missy LeHand know) C

    Harry S Truman: He dropped the bomb, but apparently never dropped his pants (at least not for the purposes of an affair). A

    Dwight D. Eisenhower: Despite speculation about Kay Summersby, I am going to give Ike an A.

    John F. Kennedy: No need to speculate here, and I'm not going to get into any details. An obvious C.

    Oops, that was eleven. Anyway, there are only seven more presidents left. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of this entry.

    And finally, the conclusion of this exciting series on presidential pants-dropping:

    Lyndon Baines Johnson: Another easy C. A woman named Madeline Brown claims that she was LBJ's mistress for 21 years, and even had a child with him. Another one of his women, Alice Glass, managed to beat that, having stayed with LBJ for about 30 years. She especially liked his support of liberal causes, but eventually broke it off with him due to his Vietnam war policies.

    Richard Nixon: I wish that, in this series of posts on the presidency, I had done one on President Nixon. There is so much that can be said about him, and even today, he continues to be in the news. For now, I am just going to give him an A, and move on.

    Gerald Rudolph Ford: See my entries below for a lot of information on President Ford. In addition to being a 'Profile in Courage' (see below), President Ford gets an A.

    Jimmy Carter: Though he had a terrible presidency, he never had any affairs. A

    Ronald Reagan: As I've said before on this blog, Ronnie was the greatest president of our time. And he also gets an A.

    George Herbert Walker Bush: Though I was quite young at the time, I was paying attention to politics in 1992, and I remember there being news of an alleged affair between Mr. Bush and a White House aide. The woman, Jennifer Fitzgerald, denied it, and it was not a major issue in the campaign. Since it apparently did not have much substance, I am going to give the first President Bush an A. However, I just found this disturbing column by the nationally-recognized conservative commentator and former U.S. Congressman John LeBoutiller (R-NY). (He is also a blogger; check out Boot's Blasts.) If what he writes (about Linda Tripp and the Bushes) is true, then that is not good.

    Billy Clinton: I could say a lot about this. And then I could say some more. Clinton was rightfully impeached, and should have been convicted for his illegal and immoral actions. I might update this entry with some links regarding Clinton and this topic, but for now, I am going to give Slick Willie a C, and publish this entry. Sorry for having taken so long to finish this listing.

    As we can see, three entries below, former President Gerald Ford celebrated his 90th birthday today. It was interesting - I am taking an exciting class called The American Presidency, and we are going over many things; the semester is almost over, and today in class, we covered several of the most recent presidents, including President Ford. No one mentioned, however, that it was his birthday today; I myself did not know until tonight, when I checked my e-mail and read today's American Minute (see that entry below).

    When going over the ten most recent presidents of our country (not including the current administration), our class - which consists of people from several different generations - was asked to rank them from greatest to least great. (Or, for many people, from least worse to worst.) I will update this entry shortly with the rankings of our class, and the rankings of the professor.

    Truman, Einsehower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Klinton

    How would you rank them?

    Update: I wonder how my fellow bloggers would answer this question... If you have a blog or website, you can e-mail me with your ranking of those ten presidents, and I might publish it here. It would be neat if we could get a comparison of these rankings among the members of the Blogosphere.

    Update: The rankings...

    Mine: Reagan, Eisenhower, Bush, Nixon, Ford, Kennedy, Truman, Carter, Johnson, Clinton
    The class: Kennedy, Reagan, Eisenhower, Clinton, Truman, Bush, Carter, Johnson, Ford, Nixon

    As I said above, if you're a blogger or webmaster, you can e-mail me with you rankings, and if you wish, I can post them here. There is a discussion on this that has begun in the comments section of an entry at Josh's blog.

    Happy Bastille Day!

    (to my French readers...)
    (though I doubt I have any...)

    Here are the latest news items on this joyous French occassion. And here are some links to information sites on this holiday.

    I could say some things about the French, but they would probably be different than what many of my fellow conservative bloggers and Republicans might say....
    It's a shame though, that around the time we recently celebrated our revolt against the tyranny of Britain, so many people were still taking their anger out on the French for having opposed the war against Iraq. For Perfidious Albion's sake, what about the British?!

    From my more recent and previous entries on the issues of war, freedom, and the state, one may be able to notice my view that the principles of constitutionalism and republican liberty - the patriotic principles which formed the basis for the American Revolution, and which should inspire opposition to government and empire - run contrary to the statist, neoliberal, Wilsonian philosophy that has been used to justify this war. The values of the Old Republic and constitutional conservatism are being chipped away at continuously by those who love the Leviathan, perpetual warfare, globalism, and the New World Order.


    The good conservative columnist Fred Reed [] wrote a column on France a little while ago; I had seen it in a previous issue of The American Conservative. Though not available at that magazine's website, that column is also at numerous conservative web publications - see it here, here, or here, and at Fred's site here. Conservative columnist Charley Reese also had a good column on France, also mentioning the Dixie Chicks and Rick Santorum, as well as Rumsfeld and bin Laden. And also check out why the "French are no cowards," and "Why France is America's true friend"...

    Bonjour!! :-)

    Pardon me?

    With respect to the topic of the last entry - honoring former President Gerald Rudolph Ford - there is always going to be the issue of that now-infamous pardon granted to former President Nixon. Contrary to common misconception, the pardon was actually something that was a major decision for President Ford that took a great deal of courage and principle to do - it would have been a great deal more beneficial for the President, politically speaking, if he had not granted the pardon. After Watergate, the public actually thought it was refreshing that a new guy - one with an 'outsider' image - had gotten into the White House. It was a time for healing and renewal, and Ford was seen as being the right guy to do that; he had not been the original Vice-President in the Nixon administrations (that was Spiro T. Agnew), and he was recognized for not being tied to the activities of the White House. But in granting the pardon, those PR advantages that he had had were, for the most part, wiped away with a stroke of the pen. And that was something from which he never did recover.

    Just the year before last, Gerald Ford became the recipient of the John F. Kennedy 'Profile in Courage' Award, for this brave move that he made in 1974. Even the Democrats who previously criticized him for this apparently now realize that it was indeed an act of courage and principle, and a very admirable gesture.

    See the photo of former President Ford receiving this award, being applauded by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and others.

    Updates (7/24/03):
    Go here for the text of Mr. Ford's remarks at the award ceremony. You can also download an audio file of that speech there. More of his post-presidential speeches and writings are available here.

    And also check out Sen. Ted Kennedy's remarks on this occasion. It is so refreshing to see that even liberal Democratic leaders such as Sen. Kennedy and Congressman Barney Frank were now praising the former President for what he did. This shows that, years after something so serious, divisive, and tragic as the Watergate affair, people on opposing sides can come together on matters of principle.
    At a time of national turmoil, America was fortunate that it was Gerald Ford who took the helm of the storm-tossed ship of state. Unlike many of us at the time, President Ford recognized that the nation had to move forward, and could not do so if there was a continuing effort to prosecute former President Nixon. So President Ford made a courageous decision, one that historians now say cost him his office, and he pardoned Richard Nixon.

    I was one of those who spoke out against his action then. But time has a way of clarifying past events, and now we see that President Ford was right. His courage and dedication to our country made it possible for us to begin the process of healing and put the tragedy of Watergate behind us. He eminently deserves this award, and we are proud of his achievement. - (Sen. Kennedy, JFK Library & Museum, May 21, 2001)

    I just found out that the former President was also included in Caroline Kennedy's book, Profiles in Courage for Our Time, published about a year ago.

    Happy Birthday, Mr. President!

    American Minute with Bill Federer
    July 14th

    The 38th President was born this day, July 14, 1913. His given name was Leslie Lynch King, Jr., but his stepfather renamed him. The only Eagle Scout to become President, he attended the University of Michigan on a football scholarship, graduated from Yale Law School, served in the Navy during World War II. He was House Minority Leader and when Richard Nixon resigned, he became the only person to become President without being elected. His name --- Gerald Rudolph Ford, who said: "I ask you to confirm me as your President with your prayers. And I hope that such prayers will also be the first of many."
    Hyperlinks within the above American Minute were added by me (not by Mr. Federer).

    News on President Ford's 90th birthday...

    Gerald Ford Turns 90, hopes integrity will be his legacy
    Gerald Ford still going strong at 90
    Gerald Ford, A Man Who Healed Us, Turns 90

    Update: Take a Ford quiz!
    As President Ford turns 90, test your knowledge...

    Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum Gerald Ford
    Character Above All: Gerald Ford
    The American President: Gerald Ford
    POTUS: Gerald Rudolph Ford
    Grolier Online: Gerald R. Ford

    More Ford Resources:
    Gerald R. Ford Foundation
    Gerald R. Ford Council: Boy Scouts of America
    Gerald R. Ford International Airport Elizabeth Bloomer Ford
    Betty Ford Center

    Friday, July 04, 2003

    God Bless America!
    American Minute with Bill Federer
    July 4th

    The Declaration of Independence was approved this day, July 4, 1776. John Hancock, the first to sign, said: "the price on my head has just doubled." Benjamin Franklin signed saying "We must hang together or most assuredly we shall hang separately." Of the fifty-six signers: 17 lost their fortunes, 12 had their homes destroyed, 9 fought and died, 5 were arrested as traitors, and 2 lost sons in the War. As Samuel Adams signed, he said: "We have this day restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His kingdom come."

    Happy Independence Day!!

    Here are some great items for this occassion from years past.

    The Americans Who Risked Everything
    Heroes of 1776
    Don't Tread on Me: Two Years that Changed the World

    As we celebrate this holiday, we must never forget the meaning and true significance of this day, and what today truly stands for.

    We are blessed to be living in the greatest nation on earth. God bless America, and may His hand guide us and our leaders in the decisions that they make, and in our daily thoughts and actions.

    Appropriate for this time of the year...

    Mel Gibson: The Patriot

    When this film came out around this time of the year three years ago, I went to the theater right after getting out of night classes the first day it showed. Gibson's movie, through its themes, exemplified a lot of what I was trying to do at the time (with regards to politics, campaigns, and issues), and it was excellent. This is the best movie among those that I've ever seen, and it also exemplifies many of the sentiments and passions behind this weekend's celebration of our nation's indepedence. Have a great Fourth of July weekend, and if you get a chance, also check out The Patriot.

    Below are some reviews and commentary from the summer of 2000 about The Patriot and patriotism:

    Orange County Register: Gibson's 'Patriot' - A Stirring Call to Liberty, July 1, 2000

    I don't know if the screenwriter, Robert Rodat - who also penned 'Saving Private Ryan' for Steven Spielberg - was deliberately echoing contemporary events, but I heard echoes:

    * Out here in California we certainly resent the dictates of the central government 3,000 miles away in the federal district, so inaptly named 'Washington.'

    * The British troops burn a church with women, children and old men inside. Could that refer to the burning of the Branch Davidians' church at Waco in 1993?

    * Several scenes show how the ill-trained colonials resort to guerrilla warfare to increase the odds against the more numerous, better-trained Redcoats, who in those days were the shock troops of the seemingly invincible superpower of Great Britain. I see in that a warning to the United States, which has become the modern worldwide meddler. If the British had no right to tell our forefathers what to do in 1776, what right has the United States to decide what goes on in Kosovo, Haiti, Iraq or Korea today?

    (Links and boldface in this column excerpt are added by me. Read the column here.)

    Richard Poe: Leftists Fear 'The Patriot', July 4, 2000
    Dr. Chuck Baldwin: Hollywood Goes Patriotic, July 3, 2000
    Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership: Getting Hollywood's Attention: Using their Language, Aug. 7, 2000
    Neal Boortz: Why Liberals Oppose Gun Ownership, June 15, 2000
    Sam Francis: 'The Patriot' teaches forgotten lessons the Left doesn't like, July 11, 2000
    Jonah Goldberg: Gibson's Revolution, July 17, 2000
    Lew Rockwell: Independence, American-Style, July 20, 2000
    Steve Bonta: Revolutionary Filmmaking, July 31, 2000
    Gary North: Yes, the British were tyrannical, July 19, 2000
    Michael Vlahos: Schooling Brits on the 'The Patriot', July 17, 2000
    Michael Pierce: Of Patriots and Scoundrels, July 14, 2000

    Update: When originally typing this entry, I had thought of including a Patriot review that I had come across at back around the time the movie came out. That site has since been taken down. That piece, by Izzy Lyman of The Homeschooling Revolution, is at another website, though.

    The Patriot review you didn't read in Time Magazine, July 4, 2000

    Bad timing?

    I love Michelle Malkin. I really, really do. She is definitely one of my favorite columnists. She is so articulate, prolific, and 'right-on' on just about every issue. Like myself, she is the child of Asian immigrants. And her views on immigration are very good; her recent book highlights the crisis that is facing our nation due to our government's immigration and border policies. A fiscal conservative, Michelle has regularly criticized the problems of big government, high taxes, pork-barrel spending, and the nanny state. But Michelle is also a stong social conservative, and has taken the correct stand on issues such as trade with Communist China. And she is of course very attractive.

    It was disappointing, therefore, when I was on World Net Daily recently, and saw her column title, about being 'Grateful for Patriot Acts,' which was featured as one of their lead editorials. It was too bad that Michelle chose to make her pre-Independence Day column one defending the "USA Patriot Act"... Her column for today is much better, though.

    One of my fellow College Republicans (from another state) forwarded me a Free Congress Foundation e-mail, which contains a good commentary by Steve Lilienthal for the Fourth of July, on this very same subject.

    Here is an excerpt of that e-mail from the organization:

    >From: "Jill S. Farrell"
    >Subject: fcfnnn070403 Inside: Steve Lilienthal Commentary: What Price USA Patriot?
    >Date: Thu, 3 Jul 2003 16:32:06 -0400

    Thought Police Found On California Campus
    The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education's Greg Lukianoff On Overzealous Reaction At Cal Poly
    Souvenirs For Your Baggage Agent. How Nice Of You!
    Consumer Alert's Jamie Plummer On This Week's Privacy Villain.
    The Great Conservative Court Mystery
    Read GOPUSA's Bobby Eberle Commentary In Today's NNN.
    Free Congress Foundation's
    Notable News Now
    July 4, 2003

    The Free Congress Commentary
    What Price USA Patriot?
    By Steve Lilienthal

    Today, July 4th, the National Constitution Center will open. It is hailed as the first museum in the world that explains the document that not only contains the governing principles for our own country and the guarantees of liberty for American citizens, but that has also served as a model for the constitutions of scores of other countries too. Appropriately enough, the National Constitution Center is located in Philadelphia, where the Constitution was written and signed by the delegates to the constitutional convention nearly 216 years ago.

    Even today, Philadelphia not only recalls its past as the birthplace of the Constitution, but it recognizes the continuing relevance of Constitutional principles when the city council passed a resolution in late May condemning the USA PATRIOT Act for violating fundamental rights and liberties.

    The groups that spearheaded the effort were primarily on the left including local chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Organization for Women.

    Unfortunately, not enough conservatives have given thought to the serious threat to basic civil liberties that is posed by the USA PATRIOT Act. Otherwise, more conservatives would realize that they too have a vested interest in calling for significant revisions to the Act...

    ----> Read the full commentary at

    ----> Visit the National Constitution Center:

    More Updates:
    From the Washington Times: About 165 communities shun the Patriot Act
    From the Sunday Herald (Aust.): Bush faces domestic revolt over Patriot Act 'sneaks'
    From Reuters: U.S. House Takes Aim at Patriot Act
    From the office of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX): Paul Applauds Congressional Restrictions on Patriot Act
    ----> Check out the House roll call on that vote
    From The Hill: The GOP's Lone Congressman from the Lone Star State
    (via the news page)

    Dr. Izzy Lyman recently posted this political cartoon by the great Kevin Tuma, which succinctly summarizes this problem. Also check out Mr. Tuma's latest toon, and look through his recent and past archives as well.

    Thursday, July 03, 2003

    Good Morning, Monrovia!

    Liberia beckons too!
    Oh no! What are we utopians to do?

    Willis says go.
    Our troops are a tool.
    Cole's losing sleep.
    While Hawkins plays it cool.

    (Inspired by "Ode to Slobo")

    Stretched too thin?

    It was reported last month that our increased military commitments, including those involving the war with Iraq, were putting a strain on our armed forces. The great conservative blogger Tacitus posted a very good entry on this problem, stating "This level of deployment isn't sustainable. This pace of deployment isn't sustainable." Tacitus, who I believe has a military background, has been making this point for some time, as were many military-related groups and patriotic individuals and organizations, especially during the Clinton/Albright years. As myself and other conservatives had pointed out before, the actions and policies of the Clinton administration undeniably weakened our defense capabilities and ran-down our military might and potential, something which Governor George W. Bush also correctly pointed out during the latter part of his presidential campaign.

    Writes Tacitus:
    Half the active Army occupying a mid-sized country might have been a tenable proposition back when our most pressing foreign foe was the Boxers; today, when we're committed to the defense of Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Turkey and most of Europe, and fighting a war in Afghanistan, it's simply ludicrous.

    There's a few choices here, none of them good: We can undercommit to our commitments; we can continue to abuse the Guard and Reserve system until it falls apart; or we can resume a draft. Any bets as to which we'll do?

    The United States military has its hands full, folks. Let's hope no one else is angling for trouble.

    Joe Katzman blogged on this with regards to the issue of a potential intervention in the Congo (link via Matthew Yglesias). Now, with all the talk of a possible intervention in Liberia, this problem could be further exacerbated.

    Updates (7/25/03): ABC's Nightline did a story on this very issue on the 7th.


    Some pertinent background information (added 7/25/03):
    Human Events, the national conservative weekly, had some great material on this in its August 20, 2001 issue. Check out this informative chart, and a related article from a month later, with their interviews (and attempted interviews) of some of our representatives in Congress. This is a related opinion piece from another source, and this additional column from the previous May sheds more light.


    Special Report from Stars & Stripes
    White House says Military won't be overextended - but troops beg to differ...

    Reuters: Key U.S. Army Division Shocked at Extended Iraq Duty Troops ask, "How long?" The Army can't say - new
    Grand Rapids Press: Fighting in Iraq is supposed to be over, but local moms know better
    Bob Novak: Donald Rumsfeld vs. the U.S. Army
    ''You call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him [we] are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building.''

    Update 2 (7/17/03):
    On America Online, the Welcome Screen always features some of the latest news stories. Last night, one of the featured items was on the growing frustration and declining morale facing many of our servicemen in Iraq. There was a link to an AOL News screen called "Seething Soldiers," and it had an online poll that stated that asked the following questions:

    Should soldiers vent frustration publicly?
    - Yes, leaders should hear from the ranks
    - No, the media's not the place for it

    Do you think the U.S. has a clear plan for post-war Iraq?
    - Yes
    - No

    I am not sure about those questions... How would you respond?

    The side bar on that screen says the following:


    'Kicked in the guts'
    Waiting is hell. Just ask the GIs in one Army division. They've been in Iraq for months and were told three different times they'd be sent home. Now their return date is unclear, and their frustration is boiling over. One soldier even put Bush on his own 'Most Wanted' list. Story | Video

    Frustrated Families
    Spouses become cynical and confused.

    7 Dead in 7 Days
    U.S. Soldiers Killed July 1-7

    ---- end of AOL screen ----

    If you have AOL, you view it at: aol://4344:3167.ranks1.21084035.742835166

    (Those links above actually opened window within AOL, which contained those news items. But since this is the web, some of those links above are different (than the ones they had), but they go to the same news stories.)

    Update 3: Two of my fellow conservative youth bloggers, Josh Claybourn and Pieter Friedrich, have more on this.

    Update 4: I had come across these past news pieces earlier this month... Also check out the ones included in Josh's and Pieter's posts above.
    Troop morale in Iraq hits 'rock bottom'
    Heat and violence hits U.S. troops

    "Bring them on!" ??

    This news from yesterday is somewhat troubling...
    I didn't read the entire speech - Let's hope that he was taken out of context...

    Sadly, it seems that it has already come true. And not just for this morning. It seems that these types of tragedies have sharply risen in recent days and weeks. This is a very scary situation.

    [Update: Stan Goff - A Former Special Forces Soldier Responds...]
    (featured item at the Sierra Times)

    Update 2: Col. David Hackworth - Bring what on?
    via James Landrith's excellent July 10th entry

    (Please check and the Soldiers for the Truth websites for the latest news and updates from a pro-troops perspective.)

    Atrios, who I would likely disagree with on most issues, did raise an important point in one of his recent entries last week, in which he stated that the media had not been giving adequate coverage to the U.S. troop casualties in Iraq. Our brave servicemen and women have been giving up so much to go overseas and serve our country. It is the responsibility of all of us to keep track of current affairs and events, and to be aware of what is going on throughout the world.

    Mike Ewens, a conservative/libertarian student at Washington University in St. Louis, has created a detailed, ongoing web source which provides information about this aspect of the situation in Iraq. His article on this from last week can be read here. The information site contains a great deal of relevant data.

    (The student organization that Mike is involved with can be found at Mike's blog is at that site as well.)

    More background information on this can be found at, and at this site.

    Update: Greg Mitchell - Media undercounts U.S. causualties in Iraq (see the Iraq Coalition Causualty Count)

    Support our Troops
    Scroll down, or click here for my previous entry, with links and information on military support sites and resources. We must continue to pray for our brave heroes, and never forget those who have given so much for our country in recent and earlier times. God bless all current and past military personnel, and their families.

    This is a test.

    This is yet another test to see whether (especially now that Blogger has moved our blogs to a new server, and now that Google has purchased Blogger) I will be successful in changing my 'archive frequency' from 'weekly' to 'monthly.' Previously, when I have tried to do so, the archive listing on the side of my page has failed to change accordingly, and my posts have had no valid permalinks. Now, hopefully it will work. (But I'm not going to get my hopes up, considering the track record.)

    Update: Hooray!! It worked! This is quite amazing!

    Anyway, expect more posts soon, including a major 4th of July entry...

    Update to previous entry:
    Well, it's been a week since I've been 22, but there's still time... (hint, hint) ;-)

    Anyway, it was nice to find out that I was not the only one in the Blogosphere to turn a year older last Thursday. Happy [belated] Birthday Jane!!.... And keep smiling! :-)